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Is this ‘cartoon existence’ really living?

As I was binge watching the last season of “The Blacklist”, I was surprised it only had 19 episodes. What was stranger was a few minutes into the 19th episode they cut in with cast and crew telling us that they were in the middle of filming when COVID-19 restrictions kicked in. After making sure to tell us to be safe and other platitudes, they then went back to the show, but half of it was cartoon and the other half live action.

Now I understand wanting to finish a project but the way this was handled just reminded me how screwed up everything has become. Now the cartoon sections were not Anime nor computer-generated, but rather they looked like old comic book drawings and not the good kind, like Jack Kirby used to draw. They seemed a bit low budget and I was soon distracted by the “boom” and “pow” bubbles. Also, the characters, while in live action, never did any internal dialogue.

While I was not enjoying this at all, I began to see an analogy to our current “carton existence”. The ending of that show, and season, (spoiler alert) was of one of the main characters coming to grips with their dark side with internal dialogue. Now had they just waited or blew off the “restrictions”, this scene would have been powerful as they had “Paint it Black” by the Rolling Stones playing in the background. Instead it came off as rather lame.

At the end we were once more treated to the cast and crew warning us to “Stay Safe” and wear a mask because, “we’re all in this together.” I have come to really hate that phrase and the platitudes of the well-meaning cast fell flat for me.

It seems that all we are hearing is how we will just have to accept the “new normal” and get on with life as dictated by governors around this country. Much like the episode I watched, we are now being told to just put up with substandard conditions because, “We are all in this together.”

Oh, and I forgot the biggest lie we are supposed to accept and that is, “we are saving lives.” The reality is there is no way to determine if any life was saved by shutting down businesses and jobs. The reality of this whole cartoon existence is that we lost nearly as many to despair, overdoses and domestic violence because we were told to “stay home and stay safe.” Funny the data actually shows that many of the cases in New York were caught from family members as we were “staying home to stay safe.” Better yet, in New York, they sent patients from nursing homes back to the nursing homes once they were diagnosed with COVID. This just caused more deaths as the fatality rate for folks over 70 is about 5%.

Meanwhile the survival rate for those under 70 is 99.6% or 0.04% fatality. That number drops to about 99.9% for kids between birth and 17 years old. And for that we told kids they could not go to school. They have as much of a chance of being hit by a car or dying from a multitude of things, but we didn’t shut them out of school before this, “deadly virus” hit us.

I agreed early on with the two-week shutdown as we did not know how virulent this virus was going to be. But by about late May, the numbers were already showing that this was not a deadly virus, but rather more like a bad flu year. (The Hong Kong Flu in 1968 killed 100,000 when our population was about half what it is today.)

I can only guess that we were just too dumb to know any better back then, but had we done for that what we are doing now, this country would most likely still be trying to recover from the cure as the disease is not this big deadly virus they told us it was going to be.

Instead of settling for a crappy “cartoon existence” we should all demand that we have had enough of settling for a life that is just not realistic enough. The mask-wearing, hand-washing, don’t-be-in-a-crowd nonsense has got to stop before we all end up settling for a life that is not even up to the standards of Jack Kirby.

If you all feel happy accepting this half-assed cartoon existence that’s fine by me, but do not force it on me. If we cannot live free, are we really living at all?

Dan Schinhofen is a longtime Pahrump resident and a former Nye County commissioner.

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Editor’s note: This column originally appeared in the July 2, 2021 edition of the Pahrump Valley Times and is being republished here as advancements on the Rhyolite Ridge mining project are made. The co-writers of this column were Nancy Boland, a former chairwoman of the Esmeralda County Commission who has served on the Esmeralda County Land Use Advisory Committee, along with Kathy Keyes, Greg Dedera and Mark Hartman, residents of Fish Lake Valley. Public comment for the Rhyolite Ridge Lithium-Boron Mine Project in Esmeralda County ends Feb. 3, 2023.

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